In a first, UAV used to record gunfight with Naxals in C'garh

FPFive of nine Maoists killed in encounter were women

Security agencies for the first time used an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to record the Tuesday encounter in Chhattisgarh where nine Maoists, including five women, were allegedly killed.

An official said the footage from the UAV showed the Maoists fleeing the encounter site on a tractor and children and women of nearby villages being used as "human shield" to form a protective ring around the vehicle. It also showed women and children being held at gunpoint by the Maoists fleeing the encounter site, an official claimed.

"It is an old tactic adopted by the Maoists to use children and women as shields, but we have recorded this for the first time. The video shows them snatching women and children and holding them at gunpoint," said a senior official on condition of anonymity.

The Maoists had increased recruitment of women cadres. The security forces have come to know that during operations when the group is attacked, the women cadres are pushed to the front. "It was the women who were leading the group and they fired the maximum at the security personnel," said the official.

A group of around 40-50 Maoists belonging to the military platoon unit II, led by their leader Ramanna, had assembled in the area to discuss offensive plans. Based on an intelligence input from Andhra Pradesh Greyhounds, a combined security force, including CRPF and Chhattisgarh Police, started to move towards the area and took position on Monday night.

"Generally, during summers, the Maoists plan the tactical counter-offensive campaign and we had already sent an alert to the forces three months ago," said the official.

Ramanna was elevated as the chief of Dandakaranya Special Zone Committee after its former leader Kadri Satyanarayan Rao alias Kosa was elevated to the central committee and sent to Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal region to replace Kishenji, who was killed in an encounter in 2011. It was Kosa and Ramanna who had planned the 2010 Dantewada massacre, in which 76 CRPF personnel were killed.

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